Humanitarian Needs in Malawi and Mozambique Remain High Amid Cholera Outbreak

IOM supports local authorities to relocate families affected by Cyclone Freddy to safe areas. Photo: IOM 2023 

Geneva/Lilongwe/Maputo – Communities in Mozambique and Malawi devastated by tropical cyclone Freddy continue to struggle in the face of an ongoing cholera outbreak due to the persistently high water levels and the destruction of homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods. 

To meet the immediate requirements and promote long-lasting solutions in the two countries, where thousands of families remain without shelter, food, or reliable access to safe water and health services, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling for USD 10 million in Mozambique and USD 4.7 million in Malawi. 

"We are committed to continuing our support to the Governments of Malawi and Mozambique, but we need more resources and support from the international community to ensure that we can provide the necessary assistance for longer-term recovery," said IOM Regional Director Ashraf El Nour after a recent visit to Malawi to assess the ongoing relief aid provided by IOM to internally displaced persons.   

Freddy, which caused widespread destruction over five weeks in February and March, was the longest-lasting tropical cyclone ever recorded and the third deadliest recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. 

In Malawi, the cyclone has affected more than 2.5 million people, displacing over 659,000 and claiming the lives of 676 people, according to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs. As of April 2023, over 58,000 cases of cholera have been recorded. With schools re-opening, the Government is relocating internally displaced persons currently housed in schools, which has increased the demand for shelter.  

In Mozambique, Freddy has caused significant damage and affected 1.1 million people across eight provinces.  Currently, over 57,000 individuals remain displaced across 33 accommodation centres.  

As of April 2023, nearly 26,000 cases of cholera have been recorded. IOM and community health activists are working to provide shelter, health-care services, and promote hygiene best practices, including cholera prevention techniques.  

The destruction of infrastructure such as roads and bridges has also made it difficult for aid to reach those in need.  In partnership with other United Nations (UN) agencies, IOM has been providing immediate relief to communities affected by the cyclone. However, the needs are vast and investment in longer-term recovery of internally displaced households is needed. 

To respond to the needs of those affected by the cyclone in Mozambique, and through support from the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Ireland, the United States Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, IOM has mobilized resources to provide emergency shelter, primary health-care services, mental health and psychosocial support, cholera vaccination, and other emergency relief items for affected areas in Mozambique. 

Extreme weather hazards will occur more frequently due to climate change in the years ahead. The linkages between climate change, migration and health are becoming ever more pressing across the world. To avert, mitigate and address displacement and health risks linked to climate disasters and strengthen people’s resilience, IOM calls on governments to implement sustainable climate adaptation, preparedness and disaster risk reduction measures. 


For more information please contact: 

In Lilongwe: Jacqueline Mpeni,   

In Maputo: Amanda Martinez,  

In Pretoria: Abibo Ngandu,  

In Geneva: Paul Dillon,   

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